Two dramas in one week: Drama 2

The second drama could have cost me my life – though happily, as you can tell, it didn’t. (Or it could have cost Raji and Nel theirs. But it didn’t.)

On the Friday night as soon as Raji got home from work with my car I loaded it up ready for going to mum’s/football for the weekend. As soon as I pulled away I knew something was wrong with the car! It felt like something was dragging on the road and the noise was very loud. Uh-oh! So I pulled over when I had a chance and got out and looked. Nothing! Nothing was hanging or dragging under the car. Weird! I debated what to do but as it was 6.30pm on a Friday, I didn’t really feel anywhere would be open so I decided to carry on but to take it easy and stay alert for any signs that the car was in bad trouble.

I drove down to mum’s doing no more than 65mph and I kept my peripheral awareness extended over the whole car so that I was listening for noises (or worsening of the existing one) and feeling for anything being wrong. There was nothing definite I could put a name to – the car just felt like it wasn’t quite handling right. Fortunately, I made it to mum’s and decided to just relax for the night and forget about it.

The next morning we planned to go to the local shops and I mentioned my concern about the car to mum. I went and had another look but again, couldn’t see anything. I studied the insides of the front wheels, not really knowing what I was looking for, and wondered if there was something rubbing on them – maybe a brake pad or something? Not knowing about cars, I really couldn’t tell. We set off for the shops and immediately we could hear the noise – it really was obvious. Whilst at the shops, we decided to get it checked – my instincts were that something really wasn’t right and that the car wasn’t safe, and mum’s agreed.

So we drove (carefully) to Halfords, parked up and went inside. The man on reception (I’d guess he was the manager judging by his manner) politely asked if he could help and I explained that we’d called in on spec as I was worried about the safety of the car. He said that they were fully booked for the day as it was Saturday and they closed at 4pm. He could tell we were disappointed and I said that I would feel much better of someone could even just take a look and let me know if I was safe to drive home even if I had to continue taking it easy and drive at a snail’s pace. He very clearly understood my position and very kindly said that if we could leave the car with them he’s do his best to find time for someone to take a look, though he made no promises. We accepted and were very grateful.

Knowing that we’d bought bacon before hand I said I’d nip to the car and get it as it was a hot day and it would end up cooking if we left it in the hot car. Mum said not to worry as it would be fine but I insisted, so she gave in. I decided to grab the paper as well so mum could read it and so I proudly informed her as I returned to reception to hand over the car key. She didn’t seem that impressed!

Having given my mobile phone number, we left and I assumed we’d head for the bus stop across the road, but mum said she was fine to walk. It was a fair way home so I asked if she was sure and she insisted she was, though it seemed a long way home to me, what with her bad hip. As we crossed the road, we went passed the bus stop and headed towards town, and mum took the bacon and paper from me and put them in a bag she had with her. We headed towards town but clearly my brain wasn’t quite with it – too busy fearing the worst with the car I think. I was convinced it was going to be very bad news and discussed with mum what sort of price would be worth doing any work and at what point to cut my losses. I’m not a negative person, as anyone who knows me can latest, but my instincts said it was bad, and I was but fed up of always having an old car that couldn’t be relied upon. I just need to wallow for 5 minutes before giving myself a pep talk and then I’d be fine.

It finally dawned on me that we were actually walking in to town. For once, mum and I were not thinking the same as I’d assumed we’d be killing the 3 hour wait at home. We actually had a nice mooch in town and went to Tesco for the things we needed too. Being clever, mum had put the lamb in the oven before we left so it was cooking slowly, and we’d had a tea cake with our coffee before taking the car to the garage. So she had the idea of going to Wetherspoons and having a portion of chips between us to keep us going until dinner and as we were waiting for the food, my phone rang. It was the garage and they’d had a chance to look at the car for me and said it was a wheel bearing. The manager said he strongly urged me to get it replaced to which I replied that I understood but where could I get it done as he was fully booked. He said he really couldn’t let me drive it like it was and he would get it done the same day for me. When I asked what the cost would be he said £139 including VAT so gratefully accepted. What a star! I was so relieved to think it could be sorted and glad I’d trusted my instincts.

Before we picked up the car later, we bought a selection pack of biscuits to take in to the garage as a small thank-you to them for helping us. There were a few customers in front of us and as we waited our turn, we had a chance to see what fantastic customer service skills the manager had. He was friendly, professional, polite and informative with everyone. When it came to our turn he said I’d been lucky to get down to mum’s okay the night before and it was probably due to the fact that I’d taken it easy. Apparently I could have lost the wheel or it could have completely locked (not at all good on a motorway!) We paid and handed over the biscuits and once again thanked them for going above and beyond. We were very impressed at how the manager had quickly grasped the situation and then taken it in hand, albeit without making any promises, and then thankfully sorted it out for us. He was so calm and reassuring and gave us confidence in both him and the garage. This man is worth his weight in gold and I hope the company appreciate him.

As we drove home, the difference in the car was immediately apparent – what a huge relief! Once we’d got ourselves settled at home I think hysteria set in as we got uncontrollable giggles about the fact that mum had carried the bacon and her newspaper round town all day! Ooops! πŸ˜€ This lasted on and off all evening – with tears literally streaming down my face at times.

It was good relax over roast lamb with a bottle of wine and the knowledge that the car was safe to drive the next day. We had the morning together on Sunday and used it to harvest apples from the tree in the garden and rosehips from the bushes at the front. We had an early lunch complete with birthday cake in early celebration, and then it was time for me to be off to the match.

Thank goodness for mum to keep me sane(r) whilst riding out a drama. Thanks Mum, and thanks Halfords – 10/10 for excellent service.


Last weekend I visited mum for the first time in 6-weeks – a long overdue visit indeed! I planned to go down on Friday night after work and after Raji’s birthday tea and birthday cake (I made coffee and walnut cake as this was what his mum used to make for birthdays.) I did have slight pause however, as the weather sites gave an amber warning of flooding in mum’s area, with yellow warning through the Lakes area, but in the end I decided to set off and see how I got on, turning back if I felt it necessary. The drive through the “yellow warning” area was pretty difficult with strong winds, torrential rain and in some areas, flooding – but nothing I haven’t driven through before so I just slowed down, took it easy, and came through it. When I got to the “amber warning” zone the sun shone, there was no rain, and the roads were dry! So I arrived safely at mum’s. πŸ™‚

We did get some things done but the rain returned and we couldn’t sort out the garage as hoped so that’s still to do another day. We used our time constructively still, and we had our usual fun and laughs of course. We also enjoyed watched the Spain v France Euro2012 quarter final. It was a comfortable win for Spain and an enjoyable match to watch as we finished our dinner time wine πŸ™‚

I drove back in sunshine on dry roads – until I got 20 mins away from home when a monsoon hit! I did make it home in time to watch the England v Italy quarter-final though I could have done with it being settled in the 90+ instead of going to extra time and penalties! Italy deserved their win, it has to be said, and given the fact that I don’t think England has any world class players really we did better than expected in this competition. I did correctly predict who would score their penalties and who wouldn’t too. Finally I crawled off to bed to get my much needed sleep before the working week began again.

On the plus side, petrol has got slightly cheaper and was only £129.9 at mum’s so my weekend trip cost me less than expected and I invited Billy out for a very cheap tea after work on Tuesday. (He was playing cricket Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday according to the calendar so it was probably the only time I would see my husband all week!) However, Monday’s game was rained off and changed to Tuesday instead! πŸ™

Ironically Wednesday’s game was also a washout but we’d decided to have our date Thursday anyway so stuck to that, and watched the Spain v Portugal semi-final which was pretty much what you’d expect from a derby – both sides scared to lose so a cagey affair. This game also went to extra time and penalties but I couldn’t manage another late night so left them too it. In the morning I was utterly convinced I’d see a smug-faced Ronaldo all over the net, but to my delight Portugal had been beaten πŸ˜€ I don’t mind too much who wins now; I just didn’t want smug-face winning πŸ˜‰

On Thursday I worked hard all day and was looking forward to my date with Billy in the evening. We get so little quality time together and eating on our way home from work is one of the best ways for us to get it, and a rare treat these days. At 3pm a storm hit – a storm of biblical proportions, with the sky going black and torrential rain bouncing off the pavement and crashing back to form mini rivers. Staff all round the hospital were checking on whether they were likely to get home with floods affecting the roads and trains and people made appropriate arrangements to stay with colleagues/friends/family or even in the hospital, and others waited it out until much later in the evening before going home. There were a lot of sirens whizzing past and clearly the storm had caused considerable chaos.

Photos courtesy of Roger:
Hexham high street flood
Hexham flood
Flood in Hexham

Happily, by the time I finished the sun was out again and I met Billy as planned ready to relax for the evening with dinner then watching the football. We decided to go to the Heart which has been recently taken over by a lovely couple who are rebuilding its reputation as a good food pub. We received a friendly welcome and after debating which of the delicious options on the menu to choose went for the beef stottie with gravy – with some chips as a side order. All the food is freshly cooked to order so we sipped our drinks while we waited and were just starting to unwind nicely when Raji phoned Billy. He was stuck in Prudhoe after the floods! I was very surprised he’d even tried to come home as I assumed he’d have stayed over with a colleague. Billy spent most of our meal trying to find out what the situation was with trains, buses, roads etc. In between, the food was amazing – a generously filled stottie with melt-in-the-mouth beef, a little boat of gravy, 2 roast potatoes and a Yorkshire pudding – plus our home-made chips too! Gorgeous! We even gave in to temptation and had a home-made dessert each (raspberry cheesecake with Chantilly cream for me and warm sticky toffee pudding with ice-cream for Billy) Divine – 10/10! πŸ™‚

Throughout all of this, phone calls were going back and forth between Billy and Raji – he had walked to the next stop on the train route to find no trains there either and proceeded on to the next, hoping for a bus if not a train (obviously I’d had a drink so couldn’t drive, and as far as I knew the roads were impassable anyway.) To cut a very long story short, there were none and he ended up getting a taxi from there, arriving home at 10pm – thankfully just as I was going to bed so at least I could finally relax knowing he was home safely.

We did watch the Germany v Italy semi-final but unfortunately with only half an eye as we were both trying to find out how to get Raji home. Italy dominated the game and fully deserved to win – the two goals from Balotelli were outstanding! (Nothing was stopping that second from going in!) Now I don’t know whether to want Mario or Merlin to win the final – guess I’ll just be a neutral and enjoy it πŸ™‚

All in all then, this week was rather a washout – summer? What summer? πŸ™

Chronicle flood news
BBC flood news
ITV flood news

Recharging batteries, updating technology and blitzing mould.

Since being poorly (that man-flu bug must’ve mutated to cross the gender barrier I reckon πŸ˜‰ ) I have slowly recovered with the light headedness and low energy persisting for another week. However I managed to work and to do my overtime – the thought of a fortnight off kept me going but I am really pleased to have a two-week break from work now and hope to recharge my batteries πŸ™‚

I have a long list of jobs through which I’m working during my time off – things which have needed doing for ages but I haven’t had the time, and things which will make me feel good knowing they are finally done. These include cleaning, painting (walls/ceilings), and business accounting amongst other things. Already, on day 2, I have done quite a lot even though I’ve felt as though I’ve just been pottering at my own pace.

I’ve finally transferred all the files I want from my old desktop PC to my laptop and then cleaned up and updated the desktop so that it will serve as a family spare in case of dire, ‘cos it’s slower than a slug with a limp need. I’ve backed up my phones and updated the software on my personal mobile – I LOVE this about Nokias – and the update has fixed a bug I had (viewing details of my contacts) and given me lots of new smilies to play with, so look out if you’re someone with whom I exchange texts, ‘cos I have new toys and intend to use them! πŸ˜›

One of the jobs on my list is to deal with the mould starting to grow on the bathroom ceiling and then repaint it, and I happened to see a mould remover spray in Aldi at the weekend, which I didn’t think would do much but at £1.59 was worth a dabble. To my amazement, it worked a treat and I ended up hunting down any other mould I could find and zapping it! πŸ˜€ The back door had the worst infestation and one panel was solid black – not any longer. This stuff is brilliant and gets 10/10 – but sadly I’ve run out of black stuff to kill and remove πŸ˜‰

None of my jobs are exciting, I know, but actually I am quite a little home-bird and love nothing more than nesting. I hate that I’ve been working so much and neglecting the home so although my holiday plans may seem like hard work, I’m actually enjoying myself. The beautiful spring weather helps too πŸ™‚

A degree in toastology – and other things.

We like our toast in this house, and with five of us, we get through a lot of bread – and not a few toasters. Last time I had to replace this important piece of kitchen equipment – without which we cannot manage – we didn’t have much money at all so we had to make do with a very cheap and cheerful one. IT may have been cheerful, but we weren’t as it was rubbish! For a 4-slice toaster, we were lucky if we could squeeze in 3 slices, and bagels had to be flattened to get them in, and it was 50:50 whether you’d get them out again πŸ™ So when this one died, we didn’t even mourn it, but I was determined that we weren’t going to repeat past mistakes and carefully researched our next mechanical member of the family. I finally settled on on which was the right style – a long, thin toaster, not a wide one as it had to fit in a specific gap. Four slices a must, variable thickness a must, and preferably not a garish colour as our kitchen is white and grey/silver. I found just the thing in Argos, bought it, and we immediately tested it out. Now we don’t have a degree in toastology but we do like our toast! We give this toaster 10/10. Several perfect slices later, we declared ourselves in love and looking forward to a long and happy relationship πŸ™‚

Also in the kitchen, I harvested all the tomatoes which were never going to ripen after the “summer” we’ve had and made another batch of green tomato chutney – but decided to add a little more ginger, less sugar, and a few home-grown chillis which I’d previously blanched and frozen. It’s divine! πŸ™‚

Also as last year, I’ve been doing plenty of apple baking again – pies, crumbles and spiced apple cake. Thanks mum πŸ™‚

As there were plenty of self-seeded feverfew plants growing in cracks in the concrete in the garden, I harvested them as it seemed a shame to waste them. This a herb best used fresh rather than dried, so I decided to make a tincture with it and chose brandy as the base, so it is now happily brewing in a jar on the kitchen windowsill. The daft thing is that I’m not sure who is going to use it as its main indication is migraine prevention, but I don’t have this tendency. Anyone want some inexpensive home-brewed feverfew brandy? πŸ˜‰

Lastly, I’ve started making my home-made veg soup again now the weather has gone cold. I happened to make the first batch not long after making a goulash so I saved a bowlful of the gravy from that and added it to the vegetables – resulting in a deliciously warming, satisfying soup πŸ™‚

I do love pottering in the kitchen.

City 2 – 0 Everton – without a ticket!

On Friday evening, at just gone 5pm I realised with absolute horror that I’d left my season ticket at home! PANIC! (In short, the reason I’d managed this was a combination of not having much time for packing, and my ST being somewhere other than its normal place due to the fact that I’m not yet needing to wear my big thick football coat.)

Anyway……… I called the club, who are clearly used to idiots like me as they told me very matter of factly that I could get a paper ticket issued by going to the ticket customer service kiosk before the game, which reassured me somewhat, though I’d obviously have to allow plenty of time to go and queue to sort this. I therefore had to leave Mum’s at around 10.30am, but she treated me by cooking a full English breakfast to see me off πŸ™‚ I had a smooth drive, and didn’t even get held up as much as I expected by the infernal road works in Manchester!

As soon as I arrived, I went and found the supporter services kiosk and queued for around half an hour or so (plenty of fans were collecting their Champions League away game tickets) The staff there couldn’t have been better. I got my paper ticket issued efficiently and politely, and even, when I mentioned I’d planned to go to the store to get my new shirt (Billy’s birthday present to me) and now I wouldn’t be able to get my 10% discount, wrote me a little note as proof that I had a ST and was entitled to the discount. πŸ™‚ I had expected to pay an admin fee or some such, but apparently the club allow us to be a forgetful imbecile once, and only charge if we do it again. Impressive – it was entirely down to me and no-one else so it would have been fair enough to charge me.

The match was pretty frustrating as Everton had come to try and stop us playing – mainly by getting numbers behind the ball and by trying to take out Silva at every opportunity! Everton played quite a cynical game I thought, though the ref didn’t help matters at times. I thought he got a couple of decisions wrong, but it was about equal in which terms of which team benefited. He did, however, get Cahill’s yellow card spot on – the fact that Cahill got injured (requiring substitution) when he collided with Kompany was his own fault!

Eventually, City’s hard work and patience paid off when Balotelli and Milner came off the bench and scored our much needed goals. Thank goodness – it would have been a tragedy if Everton had somehow nicked a win given the way they were playing. Lescott was my MotM, though Kompany also pleased me with his game.

The Everton fans were in good voice – at least, until we scored, but I gather some of them were throwing coins at home fans nearby and there was a bit of trouble afterwards. This coupled with the way their team had played reinforced my preference for Liverpool to Everton – though actually you’d think as a City fan I’d feel more empathy with the blue half of Merseyside πŸ˜‰

After the game, I went to get my shirt but finding the store far too packed, went to have my picnic in the car and came back after it had quietened down. Much to my relief, there was one shirt left in my size, so I went and paid – and I got my 10% discount with no fuss, and service with a smile. Then I went upstairs to get the printing done and there was a small queue but not too bad. The staff there must have had a crazy afternoon and it’s hot in their little glass cage, but they were polite, friendly and made a point of checking the details with everyone. (Let’s face it – it’s a heck of responsibility getting everyone’s beloved shirts just right – our shirts are precious to us.)

In all then, City did me proud, both on and off the pitch, 10/10 on both counts, so I drove home with a smile on my face. I even had an enjoyable football natter with the bloke behind the counter at Costa at Lancaster services. He was a ManUre fan, but as he was a real one that went to games, and knew his football, I didn’t hold it against him πŸ˜‰ A good day to round off my trip.

Foam Party!

I received a package in the post a couple of weeks ago, and on opening it, found a full sized pack of a new foam hair dye, plus some “VIP Invitations” to a Foam Partyon March 19th.

The claim was that this dye was a foam that didn’t drip and was easy to apply, and it gave 100% coverage of grey hairs. I was supposed to throw a party and we’d try out the foam (there were two vouchers for a free pack) and then give the company our feedback.

I wasn’t quite up for the party thing, but gave Nel one of the vouchers and she went and got a bottle of the reddest looking shade available (as she regularly dyes her hair red, and it was in need of redoing anyway.) I decided I would give mine ago as it looked a good match for my hair colour and I do have four or five grey hairs starting to appear. They’re not a problem as yet, but when I do start getting a lot more, I may well want to cover them (since I DO have a gorgeous younger husband and I’m sure he won’t want to be seen around with a grey haired hag πŸ˜‰ )

On the date set, Nel and I shut ourselves in the bathroom with our foam and a few giggles – the men of the house safely watching rugby πŸ™‚ This was our verdict:

    Things we DIDN’T like:

The overwhelming peroxide fumes which had us running to open the window and our eyes streaming;
The instructions don’t make it clear enough that you only shake the bottle 3 times – however, in our case, it didn’t cause a problem;
Conditioner sachet’s could do with being easier to open instead of having to hunt down some scissors.

    Neutral comment:

At first, we thought there wouldn’t be enough foam to cover our hair entirely, but in the end there was plenty. It just takes a bit of patience to cover all your hair.

    Things we DID like:

It doesn’t drip so you really CAN go and do stuff whilst waiting to rinse;
Resulting colour – good coverage, covered my odd grey hairs, gave a nice “highlights” effect in my case, so not a radical change. (I didn’t want a huge change, just something that will work to cover grey as more come through.) Nel’s hair looked nice and vibrant and was fairly evenly covered given she did it herself – normally I have to apply the liquid dyes she uses;
The conditioner made our hair feel gorgeously silky.


7/10 The highly offensive peroxide fumes would stop us using this again. If, however, that could be overcome, the results are really good. Though since there is one voucher left, Nel’s bravely going to get another pack for next time her hair needs doing.

We may not have quite got into the party spirit with this, but it was nice to have a mum-and-daughter girly session and we had a few laughs. Thanks Nice and Easy πŸ™‚

Kwik Fit Cavalry

Ever since I had my first car, I’ve been really disciplined at making sure I check the levels and keep everything topped up. Sadly, my car is now a bit scruffy and getting a bit rough around the edges, but still performs well for me.

Amongst other little imperfections, it’s bonnet has become more and more reluctant to open and when I recently thought the engine sounded a little rough, I suspected it might want some oil – but couldn’t open the bonnet to check. So next time I was at Mum’s, I asked if she’d help (sometimes someone applying a bit of pressure over the catch can help) – but it still wouldn’t open. Then I got Billy to have a go – same result. By now I was convinced it was desperate for oil and that I really had to get that bonnet open.

On my way to Tesco last week, it occurred to me to pop in to Kwik-Fit who had done a good job with my exhaust before, so off I went and asked if they could help. The man on reception took my keys and he and a mechanic went off to my car whilst I had a seat in the waiting area. When he returned, he said they’d got it open and had topped up all the fluids, including oil – and that I didn’t owe them a penny! WOW! What great service! πŸ™‚

He said that the oil had been very low and that the car could probably so with a service. I replied that I thought so too, but that I was hoping it could wait until my MOT in December so it could be done in one hit – and he proceeded to tell me about their offer price of £99 for MOT and mini-service or £165 for MOT and service. That sounds a good deal to me, and I think I’ve pretty much decided to go for that! Better yet, I can apparently take the car in any time after the 2nd November and still maintain the anniversary of the MOT.

Thanks Kwik-Fit for such great service, such friendliness and good advice. Not only am I pleased, but I will be back πŸ™‚ 10/10!

Mum, Mojitos and Mmmm.

When I arrived at mum’s after the match on Saturday, all fed up, damp and weary, she greeted me with a cuddle and sent me up to change and get comfortable whilst she prepared a new drink for us to try. When I came back downstairs, feeling better already, we sat and sampled a vodka mojito each – she had even crushed the ice and added fresh mint leaves. I loved it and could taste the mint and the lime, making it a refreshing drink with a lovely flavour. (I give it 10/10 in fact.) It does seem to evaporate fast though, as by the end of the evening the whole bottle had mysteriously disappeared! πŸ˜‰ Between the drink, a hot, tasty dinner of braised steak with a rich gravy, and mum’s company, I felt much more relaxed by bedtime.

On Sunday we picked apples from mum’s tree (with me trying desperately to avoid any critters roaming around amongst them) but we needed someone taller than us to reach those left higher up. Maybe we can persuade Billy to get some of them when we go down on my birthday. We also went shopping and as ever, I was very good at helping mum spend money πŸ˜› We went into B&Q so she could look for one thing (which they didn’t have) and ended up buying something entirely different. Ooops! Still, it IS something she needs and would have had to buy at some point. ( That’s my defence and I’m sticking to it!) After that, mum treated me to coffee and a little something to keep us going, before we went to the supermarket.

We had a light lunch of gammon, new potatoes and salad, followed by home-grown/home-made apple crumble – at least it would have been a light lunch if only we’d had about half the portion! πŸ™‚ I was so stuffed I didn’t need to eat another meal all day.

By the time I left for home at around 4pm, I felt more mellow and as though I’d had a day’s holiday. Thank you Mum. Again. πŸ™‚

England Ladies and City.

On Saturday, I started the day by redelivering a package that the post office had delivered to us instead of the correct address round the corner, and then Laura and I shared out the housework between us as Mrs Gem is poorly. (Despite being a helpful little bod, Laura was in it for the money! πŸ˜‰ )

Sol came round and worked in the bathroom (yes, we’re STILL going!) and when he came back from his lunch, he reminded me that the England ladies were playing their quarter final against the favourites, America. As it was on the BBC, I put it on upstairs whilst I got things done and therefore watched most of the game. Our ladies did us proud and it was a massive achievement to even get into the quarter finals – no-one expected them to beat the Americans, and indeed they were a class apart. However, at half time the score was 0-0 and that was a bonus itself. In the second half though, the Americans stopped hedging and went for it, though I think 2-0 would have been fairer than the 3-0 that was the actual score. Even so, our ladies kept playing until the end and gave it their all, and we can be very proud of them.

I’d had texts from Billy indicating that he and Raji were having a good time at their rugby match, and I saw later that England won the match too. The men have broken their jinx – usually when they go and watch England play live at a sport, they lose. πŸ˜€

In the evening, I settled down to watch Fulham v City on Setanta, and I opened one of the beers I’d got from PaulCorona Export. Very nice – 8 out of 10! In the second half, I had Brahma, which only got a 6 as the taste didn’t last after each sip.The match was brilliant viewing for the neutral – more nerve wracking for me! I’d say the draw was a fair result and all the players gave their best to win a hard earned point. I really enjoyed the match and loved seeing some very nice football being played by my team – hopefully it will continue to get better and better.

Just another manic Wednesday.

Wednesday was very, very busy as not only am I working all week at the hospital this week (covering LeeÒ€ℒs last week of this holiday), but also it is the first week of the new term of lunchtime meetings at the hospital.

So, in the morning, I did the laundry,printed some documents, and gathered some things I needed at my clinic later, and then went to do the shopping. As I only had time to go to Hexham rather than Kingston park, I didnÒ€ℒt do brilliantly, but I think weÒ€ℒll be OK for the week. As usual, I went to Waitrose first as they do more gluten and dairy free foods for Laura, and then I went to Tesco (have I ever told you how much a dislike the Hexham Tesco? Awful layout, terribly restricted range and cramped aisles.) As well as buying the normal supplies, I had to buy a new hoover too as Mrs Gem had said that the current one was melting! (Literally! And could I find the receipt so I could get a refund? Nope!) Determined not to buy that model again, I looked to see what they had, and found one I like in the reduced section Γ’β‚¬β€œ an ex display model Γ’β‚¬β€œ so I was rather pleased (I actually think I may have inadvertantly got more of a bargain than I was meant to, as well.)  I then went home and hastily unpacked, wolfed down a quick lunch, and set off for the meeting at the hospital.

Before the meeting though, I went and delivered an urgent item to one of the wards as a patient needed it as soon as possible. Naturally, I received no thanks for making that effort on my day off. In fact, the Trust has taken it’s wanting a pound of flesh (and some!) a stage further now and all part time staff have had a letter sent to them at home, requiring them to choose whether to work more hours a week or lose a percentage of pay (and therefore pension) as they alter the full time working week to 37.5 hours! I have to work an extra 13 minutes a week! Considering I take none of my paid breaks, have a 10 minute lunch at my desk, get in early/work late/ go in on days off, as needed, I’d say I already cover it!

After learning a few new things about aortic aneurysms, I went to my clinic and had a busy afternoon seeing patients, making up prescription, and doing some preparation for Anthea, the new practitioner who was starting at my clinic the next day. She is lovely and I think she will be an asset to the practice. She is currently a Bi-Aura practitioner, but has also just sat her final exams in Nutrition. She is an ex GP, and she has a lovely calm, friendly manner so I hope that she will do really well here.

At the end of my clinic, Billy came to meet me, and he was very proud of himself, because he had bought Paul a NICE birthday card! He handed it to me and it was indeed a nice one, with cute little kittens. Now Billy ALWAYS buys Paul a comic card and so I was amazed. Earlier in the month he’d insisted I leave him to buy Paul’s birthday present and card as I’d just get something “nice” ! After showing me the card, Billy produced the REAL one! A jokey one, and said he’d be giving that to Paul but he’d bought a nice one for me to give him, as I was a NICE person πŸ˜€ We then decided to go and wish the man himself a happy birthday in person, so we went and met him at his shop and then went for “a quick” birthday drink! Yes, you guessed! It turned out to be 3 not-so-quick birthday drinks! Very nice though. (By the way, Billy did buy Paul some books and CD’s as well as the silly card.)

We were talking about our lager and marks out of ten, so Paul asked if I’d ever drunk Newcastle Brown Ale. I hadn’t so I had a sip of his – now that is very drinkable, and I gave it a 7.

After giving the birthday boy his birthday cuddle and wishes for an enjoyable evening, Billy arranged to see him later for more drinks (I’d be tucked up in bed by then), and then my lovely husband took me to dinner.

He is away for the weekend, watching the Rugby World Cup in France (England v Samoa) so he decided to treat me to a nice meal before he went on Thursday. We went to the newly taken-over Zubraj restaurant which does South and Indian cuisine and it was delicious. We both tried things we hadn’t had before, and it was all lovely. Very reasonably priced too. We both appreciated relaxing time together for once, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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